Coronavirus: surging levels of TV coverage across diverse audiences in US | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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Research from Comscore has revealed that as millions of Americans enter a new month remaining mostly indoors to comply with public health measures, US TV viewing is continuing to rise.
Comscore TV Markets 8April2020
The research firm’s insights up until 22 March 2020 show that much higher ratings for local stations during the pandemic are being driven by a much broader demographic representation of viewers than is typically observed during news segments. Several key age ranges are showing significant year-over-year viewing increases, with 18-34 up 38%, and 35-54 up 35%.

Across all households in the top 25 markets, Comscore observed a 13% increase in viewing from the week of March 9, 2020 compared to the week of March 16, 2020 and a 33% increase from the week of March 18 in the previous year. Looking at households with adults ages 50+, the analyst found that these homes saw increases in viewership compared to both weeks — a 12% viewing increase from the week of 9–16 March 2020 and a 29% increase over the previous year's week of 18 March 2020. Households with adults aged18–34 showed the largest increase in viewership from the same week in 2019, something of a surprise said the analyst.

Across the top 25 markets, Comscore also examined viewership among households in three income groups: $0-$74,999 yearly household income, $75,000-$99,999 yearly household income and $100,000+ yearly household income. Local news viewership was found to have soared from the same week in 2019, especially among middle-earning households in the $75,000-$99,999 yearly income range, which saw a 50% increase in viewership.

Looking at overall increase in average audience rather than the percentage increase, Comscore found that local news viewing in the top 25 markets increased by well over a million households making between $0 and $100,000 each year compared with this time in 2019. The $75,000-$100,000 income group constitutes the smallest population of these three income breaks, only making up about 15 million households nationally, which is why it constitutes the largest percentage increase among the other income breaks, yet the smallest gross increase. However, these households were likely among those most impacted by stay-at-home mandates and the closure of non-essential businesses.

“American households are watching more and more local news across key demographic segments,” said Comscore CEO Bill Livek commenting on the research. “Advertisers and their agencies can fine-tune their media planning and buying by continuing to work with Comscore to understand these ongoing shifts in local television viewing as engagement remains at unprecedented levels.”